It can be difficult to sift through the thousands of nutrition sites on the internet to find quality advice based on science, but explained in layman’s terms.
Enter Darya Pino.
Darya is a scientist and the creator of one of TIME’s 50 Best Websites of 2011 – Summer Tomato. Summer Tomato offers tips and advice on healthy eating, especially for foodies living in urban areas.
Darya provides the perfect balance between science and easy-to-understand, practical nutrition advice.
“Summer Tomato is not a diet, it is an upgrade.” – Darya Pino
A huge thank you to Darya for her time and expertise!
How did you go from fighting food to loving food?
Darya Pino: When I stopped looking at food as a vehicle for different nutrients (protein, carbs, calories, etc.) I learned to embrace it as the natural fuel for my body and appreciate it’s real nutritional value as a whole, delicious entity. The healthiest food is grown with care and harvested in season, and is also what tastes the best. That is my dirty little secret.
Building healthy eating habits can be tough. What tips do you have making new healthy habits stick?
DP: It has to be consistent and rewarding. People rarely make habits out of torturing themselves.
Learning to cook is intimidating for some people. Do you have any advice to overcoming this fear?
DP: Start with good ingredients and it’s hard to mess up. Also start simple, making food that’s too complicated can be frustrating and gives you more chances to make mistakes.
What advice do you have for those powerful cravings that occur when starting to eat a healthy diet?
DP: I think if you have powerful cravings for junk food you’re doing it wrong. Try adding more healthy fats, proteins and intact grains or beans to your food. I stopped wanting cookies when I started eating oatmeal.
You have tried many different diets in the past. What is you overall philosophy when it comes to dieting and weight loss?
DP: The trick is to eat real food. It’s more satisfying both nutritionally and sensually, so you naturally eat less and feel better. Also, don’t ignore how (as opposed to what) you eat. Chew thoroughly, sit at a table and taste every bite. Mindless eating is a bad habit.
From a nutritional standpoint, why is it important to eat locally?
DP: Eating locally isn’t necessary, but most foods start losing nutritive value immediately after harvest. So the faster food gets to your plate the better.
What are some of your favourite resources for nutrition and cooking?
DP: For nutrition I get all my information from the PubMed database and don’t rely on anyone else to interpret the studies for me. It’s a great resource if you understand the technical jargon. For cooking and recipes I love Google.
There are countless recipe resources online and I usually pick a few of the best sounding ones and wing it from there. I also adore Cook’s Illustrated and have been a subscriber for years.
How do you stay fit?
DP: I workout regularly (light cardio and weight training), but I’m always sure to get in my 10,000 steps a day. People underestimate the importance of not being sedentary for hours at a time, even if you plan on going to the gym later.